4 Ways to Encourage Your Children to Express Themselves

Aaron Chua

In today’s world it’s so hard for kids to just be and express themselves. They are nearly suffocated by peer pressure and media messages that tell them to conform if they want to be liked and popular. In order to fit in, kids are often willing to sacrifice their own personal tastes. From clothes to hairstyles to activities, most kids will try to “fit-in.”

This is a very unhealthy pattern that can have long-term negative effects well into adulthood including:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Unhappiness

READ ALSO: 12 Things Parents Should Teach Their Sons About Marriage

As a parent, you can be instrumental in setting kids up for success by encouraging them to express themselves. Here are some simple tips that can have big impact.

1. Teach kids how to express themselves in the arts.

Use art forms to give kids a healthy way to express emotions like sadness, anger, aggression, happiness and excitement. Every kid is unique so look for ways to foster the artistic expression that’s already within them. Outlets include drawing, music, dance, theater, sculpture and even crafts.

2. Encourage kids to have their own style.

Even toddlers can be given the opportunity to pick out their own clothes—sure, they might come up with some funny, mis-matched outfits, but this is a great way to help them think independently and develop their own style. As kids get older, let them pick out their own clothes, backpacks and school supplies. The key is exposing them to a great selection.

3. Let kids explore their interests.

Listen to what kids say interests them and allow them to explore those things. Don’t just pick clubs, camps and activities for them, let them self-direct their activities based on their interests. There are camps and classes for just about every interest you can imagine including pottery,  chess, lego mindstorms, sports, art and academics. Let kids really chase after their interests and dreams with bug fashion design kits, craft supplies and how-to books.

READ ALSO: 6 Signs You’re Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Child

4. Give them choices.

Age appropriate choices are the key to teaching kids how to express themselves. For younger children it can be as simple as letting them pick the books you read for story time. For older kids, it can be choosing the weekend family activity or decorating their own room. Teachers can encourage kids to participate in shaping their learning by letting them suggest projects and experiments that interest them.

Teaching kids how to express themselves is an important life skill. As it is said, “Be yourself and you can be anything.” When kids feel comfortable expressing who they are, they can make their dreams come true!

Source: Koobits

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